So you want to litter train your rabbit? Well you came to the right blog/journal. If you had no idea that you could litter box train a rabbit? Well now you can!
Just read further to unlock the "secrets" of litter training you bun.
First off let's start of with the rabbits potty behavior. They exhibits definite signs when it needs "to go" to the potty. Its like the pee pee dance in children.
It lifts its tail
Starts to back up
pushes its butt against a wall or an object.
In Cage Potty Training
Most rabbits will have what I call their "potty corner" which is the favorite corner on where they like to do their business in. I would place a litter box that is big enough for them to hop in and out of. A great first litter to get them to go into the litter box would be hay (timothy or alfalfa ).
Outside of cage potty training
I would start off in an exercise pen then work your way up. Keep several different types of litter boxes on hand for they can have their potty choices. So do not give your rabbit free roam of the room just yet. I would place the exercise pen on a wood or title floor for it will be easier to sweep/clean up the urine and feces easier. Soon your bun will pick its favorite spot to do its business within a short amount of time after exploring the new area. Once you see your rabbit go in that more favored spot then the litter box would be placed there. Once your rabbit reliably uses its litter box, you can increase the area it has access to by expanding the exercise pen, adding an excise pen around a cage or after the room has been bunny-proofed you might even consider allowing your rabbit run around in the room.
Types of Litter
Use a rabbit-safe litter to line the litter box, especially because many rabbit tend to nibble on their litter.
Note: So hay is probably your best bet for litter training your rabbit at first. I use Carefresh for one of my bucks because he does not even nibble on the bedding. My other one I use hay because that was what it was used too and it did better than the Carefresh did.
Bedding to avoid
Ceder and nonkiln-dried pine litter because they emit gasses that reportedly caused liver damage in rabbits when inhaled.
Clumping cat litter. Clay litters are dusty, which can cause pneumonia in a rabbit.
I would also stay away from a bird litter called Kay-Kob. If your rabbit ingests it it will cause an intestinal blockage.
Common things that happen with potty training
1. If you still see feces outside of the litter box don't worry! You did not do anything wrong so, do not give up on potty training. A rabbit often drops pellets outside of its litter box to claim it as part of his or her territory. How to fix this problem?
Sweep up some of the fecal pellets and put them in the litter box to show your bun that this is the spot where you go potty and this is where their feces belong.
Offer more than one litter box to give your bun multiple potty options.
Make the litter box the place to be. Like mentioned above put hay in there for they will be curious and hop in to stay awhile and munch on some hay.
2. If you find feces directly around the litter box instead of in it? Your bun might be having a hard time getting into and out of the litter box. How to fix the problem?
Give your rabbit a large litter box that has a low front and a high back. A low front allows your bun to move more easily in and out of the litter box and the high back keeps the feces from falling out when your rabbit leaves the litter box.
3. Change the litter box daily since if it is overly full it will cause some "rogue" pellets to escape the litter box. Do not forget to put fresh hay in it to help him or her to come back to it. I have figured that out rather quickly. My buck tends to kick some out if its is full.
4. If your bun uses the potty in a room where they are not used to do not forget to bring its litter box with you!
5. Be patient and praise your bun. Do not hold your bun there until it goes potty. Sometimes it will take some rabbits longer to potty train than some. Never punish your rabbit either. The whole goal for a little box is to show them that this will be a favorite spot to mark its territory, get fresh hay, and maybe take an afternoon nap in.
Feces you do not have to clean up after
This may sounds gross but this is what rabbits do. Rabbits produce a unique feces called "cecotrophs" or "night feces" which are soft, mucous-covered poop rich in nutrients that the rabbit ingests directly from its anus, usually in the early morning hours. They are a lot softer than normal feces and they appear like a cluster of grapes while the normal feces is fibrous, round, and firm.
Don't be surprised
If you noticed that your rabbit likes to sleep in its litter box. For some rabbits its the best place to be in their cage. That is one of the reasons on why you should clean the litter box daily. Rabbits probably won't like to be in that place if there is a large mound of feces soaked in urine they probably wouldn't want to be in it or even potty in it if its to full.
I really hope that this helps you and your rabbits with potty training. If you have any questions fill free to ask. I have used my own experience with potty training rabbits and with a mix of some information from Rabbits USA magazine.